President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday withdrew his candidacy for senator, setting the stage for his retirement from politics after he steps down in June 2022.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez shared a photo of Duterte filing his withdrawal at the poll body's headquarters. Earlier in the day, Duterte's longtime aide Sen. Bong Go also withdrew his candidacy for president in the same building since the law requires that they do it in person.
Duterte's withdrawal from the elections came just hours after his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio endorsed him as a senatorial candidate. Lakas-CMD, which Duterte-Carpio chairs, said President Duterte is "at the top of her list."
Malacañang said Duterte "believes that withdrawing from the senate race will allow him to better focus on managing our pandemic response" and confirmed the 76-year-old's retirement from politics once his term ends next year.
"He likewise views this as an opportunity to concentrate on efforts to ensure transparent, impartial, orderly and peaceful elections in May. After over four decades in public service, the President plans to retire from government to spend more time with his family when his term ends in June 2022," Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles said.
Earlier this year, President Duterte announced plans to run for vice president but said in October that he was retiring from politics after his term. He later filed his candidacy for senator.
Throughout his public career, Duterte has never lost an election. He has been elected to several posts: mayor, vice mayor, congressman, and president.